December 12, 2003

WELCOME BACK:   Do you know what happened 100 years ago this coming week? Man flew! Well, not for the first time but a first for powered, heavier than air, manned, gas powered flight. The Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17th, 1903. When we reflect back those hundred years it's pretty incredible to see what all has transpired since then. Of course the first two groups to jump on the airplane band wagon were the post office and government. Oh, I guess they are one in the same ;-) Any how things progressed pretty fast and is wasn't long before passenger plans were a reality. Then jet aircraft came on the scene. As a side development based on flight we ventured into space. This included a walk on the moon. Since then airplanes have steadily increased in size and range to the large jumbo jets of today. The latest planes they are working on are UAV's (unmanned air vehicles). Does this mean we've come full circle going back to people not flying planes? Just my curious mind.
If you are interested in reading more about the history of flight from the Wright brothers to today we have several sites for you to check out. First you should read about the effort to repeat the Wright Brothers effort at After that has a huge selection of great reading about all sorts of aircraft. Also if you are just interested in some incredible pictures of airplanes check out This site might just change your holiday travel plans ;-)

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Hum, sounds like a song! As we were driving around this past weekend we couldn't help but notice that every person in town has put up their Christmas lights. Well, not everyone, we haven't yet. But it sure is starting to look really pretty as you drive around at night. We always do something pretty modest in comparison to some people. We have neighbors who must have emptied out the Home Depot Christmas light shelves. WOW! There goes all the savings from our weekly conservation tips.
We did manage to get a nice little fir tree to decorate this year. We've decided to adorn it with home made decorations like we did back when we were kids. Construction paper and pop corn garland, hand crafted ornaments and lights. Ken wanted to use candles like in the olden days but Marilyn put her foot down. So electric lights it will be.
We hope that your holidays are coming together and you are able to enjoy the season. Take a deep breath, sit down and relax and wish someone a happy holiday!

Here's a little tip for keeping your Christmas tree fresh and fire proof. We didn't get a chance to try it this year but it sure sounds interesting. The link takes you to a web page that has a method of fireproofing a Christmas tree. Gathering the ingredients for this process sounds like the biggest hassle, but supposedly the outcome is worth it. Or, like us, you can just watch the thing croak as time goes by :-)
Just go to and check it out.

Be sure and check out our craft site. There are lots of great gifts for your holiday shopping. If you are a crafter who would like to sell their creations through our web site please drop us a line and we'll see what we can do. We currently have Wood'n Wares, hand made maple kitchen utensils and Ron Godin's Adirondack art signs on display. Check them out at
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Thank you,
Ken and Marilyn

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What's New This Week?   We like to share good experiences when they happen and this past week we had one. We purchased a new cover for our camper trailer. It arrived in good time and we anxiously ran up to our trailer to install it. After about an hour of struggling we decided that it would not fit. The cover is supposed to fit trailers from 24' 1" to 26', our trailer is 26'. One of them must be lying because try as we might it would not go on.
We rolled it back up as best we could and stuffed it in the box. About a foot of it was still sticking above the box flaps. It was sort of like opening a road map. Once it was opened there was no going back. We called Camping World to see if they had the next size bigger and they did. We drove down to Tacoma Sunday to exchange it. So where's the good experience? Hold on!
Now when we got the cover it was on a super sale which is now over. The cashier wanted to charge us the difference of our original sale price and the current price of the new one, $58. We said that we should only pay the difference at the sale price. The checker called the manager and she was able to locate the old sales broacher that had the sale prices. It was only $12 dollars difference, much better. After all that I pulled out a certificate for $5 off anything in the store for joining their Presidents Club. The total came to just a little over $7.
All this to say that Camping World did a great job of satisfying their customer. This was our first dealings with them and we are sure it will not be the last. There are Camping Worlds all over the country. While we can't say that your neighborhood store is like ours, ours was great. You might just want to give them a try for your next camper item.


      I may have an idea that will help eliminate viruses from reaching your computer. I came upon the idea while I was at work checking my email at home. You didn't know you could to that? Well you can, at least in most cases. Most email clients have the ability to check your email on-line. What that means is that you can open up your web browser like Internet Explorer, log onto your email source, like or or what ever you use, and take a look at your mail. You don't have to open up the email to delete it. While every service is a little different here's what I do with Verizon.
First, DON'T open up your email program, like Outlook or Eudora. Open your web browser instead. This will keep your email from downloading to your computer.
I log onto the Verizon web site and click "Email and More", his takes me to my remote email page. I see a message at the top that says "You have 36 unread emails". I click on that and up pops the a list of emails. I check the boxes of the emails I recognize as junk mail or emails that have attachments I don't recognize and then select "Delete Selected". This puts the emails into a trash folder. Open that trash folder and delete all emails from there. This way the spam and viruses never get to your email in box. Now you can open up your email program and only the remaining emails will be downloaded to your computer.
While this slows things down a little bit it's better than the alternative. I've found this to be quite effective in weeding out unwanted emails before they have a chance to do anything to my computer. Sometimes a little extra time spent protecting is a lot better than the alternative, like rebuilding your computer after a bad virus hit.


     You've heard of "Dances With Wolves", well how about "Dances With Penguins"? A friend of ours, Philip Staiger, has a brother that went to Antarctica to see the solar eclipse of the sun. He has posted a pretty extensive travelogue of his adventure. Included in the pictures is one of him "dancing with a penguin". It has to be pretty incredible to be down there and interact with the cold climate wildlife. If you like reading about peoples travel adventures then we think you'll find this very interesting.
Just go to and click around. As long as you are logged onto the web check out Philip's web site for some of the great pictures people created of penguins using his drawing program, Dogwaffle. If you haven't tried drawing pictures with Dogwaffle you might want to download it and give it a try. Go to and have fun!


We have two great offers for you this week. Free cookware and 20% discounts. Just click on the banners below for more information. Be sure to use your RunnerDuck coupon # C89982.

Save 20% on 1 item at Use coupon # C89982 at checkout. Offer ends 12/31/03.


Rudolph Gift Pouch

     Here's another one of those fun projects that is not only a gift package but a gift in itself. Make a bunch of these and put surprise presents inside. Hang them on the tree for ornaments and then Christmas morning look inside for the gifts.

Here's what you'll need:

Dark Brown and Light Brown Felt
Black Card Stock Paper
Red Pom Pom
2 Google Eyes
9" Ribbon for handle
9" Ribbon for head
Tacky Glue

Using this pattern, cut the head cone and two antlers.

Click on picture for pattern

Using tacky glue adhere the antlers to the black card stock.
When they are dry trim the card stock to the outline of the antlers.
Form the face piece into a cone shape.
Glue one straight edge on top of the other, about 1/4". Hold secure with straight pins until dry.
Glue the Pom Pom to the nose.
Glue the Google Eyes in place.
Glue the antlers to the inside edge of the face with the felt facing forward.
Glue a ribbon bow to the face.
Glue the ribbon handle to the insides of the reindeer head. Hold in place with straight pins until dry.

That's it. Fill it with candy or small gifts and hang it on the tree. There will be some really happy faces come Christmas morning.

     We hope you enjoy Marilyn's Corner and look forward to all the fun things she brings you each week. If you have a fun project that would be suitable for our newsletter we'd love to share it with our readers. Just contact and we'll do the rest.

Remember we have all of our past projects archived on our web site at Just click on the Projects or Kids Only Eggs.

Personalized Gifts for Kids

One of the really exciting things to get for Christmas is a toy that is personalized just for you. We have a large selection of toys that can be personalized for that special little someone this holiday. Check out them and all the great toys that are at fantastically low prices.

(CLICK on the Picture)

The Tempos
News and CD of the Week

I did it! I went to rehearsal this week and actually played my drums for the first time since my shoulder surgery. I kept the drums set up very low so I didn't have to raise my arm and played pretty laid back but non the less I did it. It was great to see the gang again and I think they appreciated having me back even if I wasn't at full capacity. I came away feeling pretty good and look forward to going again next week.

     The Tempos big swing band is available for hire. If you have a special event that could use the wonderful music of a classic sixteen piece big band be sure to contact We perform all over the Seattle area for all sorts of events.

DVD Pick of the Week

Just in case you haven't ordered a great Christmas story to watch, we though we'd leave these three DVD's up for another week. They are really great and they also make great gifts!

A Christmas Story

This is our very favorite!

Miracle On 34th Street

It's A Wonderful Life

Remember, we have a link on our web site,, to our ever popular Grammy® Shopper site. If you haven't been there yet just click HERE to see all the 2003 Grammy® winners complete with links to purchase any one of them.

The RunnerDuck web site is hosted by

If you are looking for a great hosting service at a terrific price check them out at If you mention that you heard about them from RunnerDuck you will get a $5.00 per month "Duck Discount" for as long as you have your account.

Twice Baked Cheese Potatoes

We love it when one of our readers sends us a recipe. Kim writes, I have been asked for several years now to "bring the twice baked potatoes" to Christmas Eve Dinner at our friends house. I thought I might share the recipe I got from my sister with your readers if they don't already know it:

Medium sized Idaho or Russet Potatoes - One for every two guests. (I prefer russet)
Jar of Cheese Whiz to every 6 whole potatoes.

Wash and poke fork holes in potatoes to ensure thorough cooking.
Bake potatoes at 350 in the oven for 1 hour.
Let cool enough to handle.
Slice potatoes in two and carefully scoop out insides leaving a 1/8 inch lining of potato in the skins.
Take the scooped out potato, place in a bowl and mix in the jar(s) of cheese whiz and mash or whip until smooth.
Now, you can use a pastry filler or do it by hand, but fill the potato skins with the mix and bake on a cookie sheet in the oven until the tops are nice and browned.

Thanks Kim, those sound really simple for this busy time of year and good too.

Remember, if you have a recipe you'd like to share please send it to

     Every month we post a new recipe on our web page. Be sure and check out the NEW December recipe at the RunnerDuck Kitchen Store.
We'd be happy to post your favorite recipe there or in our newsletter and give you credit. Just drop a line to


"Potato" from The Williams-Sonoma Collection by Selma Brown Morrow

To complement Kim's Twice Baked Cheese Potatoes we found this wonderful cookbook on Potatoes! We never knew that there were so many different ways to fix a potato. Williams-Sonoma Collection: "Potato" offers an array of more than 40 recipes for time-honored favorites as well as delicious new ideas. Whether you want to make perfectly crisp, golden French fries or try spicy roasted fingerling potatoes dipped in a tangy sauce, there are dishes in these pages to please everyone. A chapter of potato salads will help you find an innovative version of this classic using artichokes, feta cheese, or red bell pepper to take along on your next picnic. And, a chapter devoted entirely to breakfast will make your mornings brighter with offerings such as hash browns and sweet potato pancakes with orange-honey butter.

Be sure and visit the RunnerDuck Cookbook Store for other great savings on cookbooks and cooking supplies.


Gift Box/Candle Holder

What a great idea, a gift box that converts into a candle holder after the present is removed. This is a simple project to build and even more fun to give.

Here's what you'll need:

1/2" A1 plywood
1/2" Dowel
Heavy wire for the handle
Finish nails
Cut two pieces of plywood 6" X 8".
Cut two pieces of plywood 5" X 8".
Cut one piece of plywood 5" X 5".
On one of the 6" X 8" pieces cut out a pattern.

We used a Christmas tree but you could do a snowman, holly or any other pattern you like. Here is the pattern for our pine tree.

Click on the picture for a full size pattern

Drill some holes near the top of the two 5" X 8" sides. We evenly spaced (4) 1/2" holes 3/4" down and (3) holes 1 1/2" down.
Butt join the front and back to the sides. Glue and nail each edge.
You may want to measure the opening in the bottom for the best fit but it should be about 5" X 5". Glue and nail the bottom in place.
Drill a small hole centered near the top on each side for the handle.
Fill the nail holes with wood putty. Sand the box smooth and paint.
Once the paint has dried you can sand it lightly to give it a distressed look, or not.
For the handle cut a 5" piece of 1/2" dowel.
Cut wire to suit you and wrap it around each end of the dowel.
Thread the wire through the holes in the box from the inside out.
Twist the ends to keep the from pulling out.

That's it, now wrap up a nice present in tissue and put it in the box. You can include a candle so it will be ready to go once the present is removed. Not only will this light up the eyes of the recipient but it will light up their house as well.

If you have a project that you would like to share please send us an email and we'll help get it published in the RunnerDuck review. We are looking for woodworking, gardening, crafts and kids projects so send us your thoughts at .


      Every holiday season we like to mention this tip. While all the holiday lights are beautiful there generally aren't too many people out looking at them at 3:00 in the morning. If you have a bunch of holiday lights up that's great but remember to turn them off when you go to bed or put them on at timer. That way the majority of the people will enjoy them but the rest of time you'll be saving money and electricity.

If you have a conservation tip please send it to and we'll post it in our newsletter.

Questions and Answers

Welcome to our Q&A center.
Got questions? We've got answers.
Got answers? We've got questions.

Q: Jane N. questioned our conservation tip last week about closing off unused rooms and blocking off the bottom of the door to save heating energy. She writes, Actually, you may want to check with a heating expert on this. I have been told as well as read that this is hard on heating systems. Next time I require service (and will most certainly since our system is aging) I'll ask my service guy.

A: We don't have an answer for this because it seems like a good idea but is there a problem? If you have some information on this we'd love to hear from you. Just drop us a line at


This came from Dianne Z. by way of Jean U., a real groaner.

This guy goes into his dentist's office, because something is wrong with his mouth. After a brief examination, the dentist exclaims, "Holy Smoke! That plate I installed in your mouth about six months ago has nearly completely corroded! What on earth have you been eating?"

"Well... the only thing I can think of is this... my wife made me some asparagus about four months ago with this stuff on it... Hollandaise sauce she called it... and doctor, I'm talkin' DELICIOUS! I've never tasted anything like it, and ever since then I've been putting it on everything... meat, fish, toast, vegetables.. you name it!"

"That's probably it," replied the dentist "Hollandaise sauce is made with lemon juice, which is acidic and highly corrosive. It seems as thought I'll have to install a new plate, but made out of chrome this time."

"Why chrome?" the man asked.

"Well, everyone knows that there's no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise!"

If you have a joke please send it to us at, thanks!

     If you want to talk about something just drop us a line at any time, we like to talk about most anything. We are always looking for content for our newsletter so if you have something to add we'd love to publish it. Assuming it meets our strict family oriented requirements!

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